The ‘Breaking the Plastic Wave’ study provided the first, comprehensive global assessment of pathways towards stopping ocean plastic pollution. South Africa, like most countries, is faced with growing plastic consumption and disposal and, with it, leakage of plastic into the terrestrial and aquatic environment. The ‘Pathways tool’ is based on a modelling framework that evolved from the global study. This study applied the ‘Pathways tool’ to provide an evidence-based approach for South Africa towards improved plastics management and achieving near-zero plastic leakage into the environment. The ‘Pathways tool’ enables the analysis of current and projected plastic material flows (Figure 1) and the effects of strategies and policy interventions on reducing plastic pollution. In addition, it provides an opportunity for multi-objective optimisation, so that decisions can not only be guided by the need to protect the environment and reduce plastic pollution, but also to ensure socioeconomic development by providing jobs and infrastructure at a reasonable cost.
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